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BBC boss Hall to discuss funding

BBC boss Tony Hall will discuss the future of the corporation and how it is paid for at an industry get-together today.

The director-general is one of the speakers lined up to appear at a seminar on the future of the licence fee at City University, in central London, this morning.

Alternatives to the BBC’s traditional funding method have been proposed by politicians, performers and former corporation staff in the run-up to the renewal of its charter which expires in 2016.

In May, C ulture Secretary Sajid Javid said “everything” would be looked at, including licence fees and governance structures, when negotiations get under way.

Senior Tories have previously called the compulsory annual charge made to viewers – currently frozen at £145.50 a year – out of date and warned it faces the axe but BBC executives insist a subscription system could end up costing more money.

The renewal negotiations will take place on the back of a torrid few years that have seen the corporation lambasted for its handling of the Jimmy Savile scandal, massive executive pay-offs and a Newsnight investigation that led to the late Lord McAlpine being wrongly accused of child abuse.

Mr Javid’s Labour counterpart, Harriet Harman, has described the licence fee as “a means to an end” and said a lternatives should be considered, while comedy writer Armando Iannucci suggested the corporation should look at an international subscription model.

The writer behind hit BBC Westminster satire The Thick Of It said : “The BBC should make a mint from the brand internationally. It needs a new attitude that says it’s not filthy to make money.

“As for the licence, you have people on laptops saying: ‘What is a television?’ There will be a subscription model.”

A move to decriminalise non-payment has had substantial cross-party support, but the BBC has warned an immediate switch would hit funding for its services by encouraging evasion.

Today’s event is part of a series of seminars examining BBC charter review in the run-up to the general election next year.

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